You can have mall-style Soft Pretzel Bites without ever leaving home! This simple recipe makes sweet or savory (you choose!) homemade soft pretzel bites that taste like they came from your favorite mall vendor (but better!). Recipe includes a how-to video tutorial!
Soft Pretzel Bites: The Perfect Snack!
I think it’s fairly well-documented that I used to be intimidated by yeast recipes. While they can sometimes be tricky, I’ve come to realize they’re really nothing to be afraid of.
If you’re still skittish about yeast (I get it!), how about making a resolution to face your fears this coming year (which is somehow only days away?!). I’ve got plenty of easy yeast recipes to guide you through, like my sticky buns, garlic knots, pizza dough, and of course, these homemade soft pretzel bites.
This recipe is easy, fairly quick (instant yeast makes a difference!) and truly delicious. It also comes highly requested, and if you’re not new to the yeast recipes around here you’ll notice that the ingredients and steps are very similar to my homemade soft pretzels recipe, which has become a staple around here. It’s also the perfect appetizer for new year’s eve, so let’s get started!
What You Need
You only need a few ingredients to make homemade soft pretzel bites:
- Bread flour. For best-tasting pretzel bites, I suggest you use bread flour for the perfect chewy texture. You could use all-purpose flour in a pinch, but your pretzel bites will turn out more fluffy than chewy.
- Brown sugar. Just a little bit of light brown sugar feeds our yeast and adds flavor without making the pretzels sweet.
- Yeast. Use rapid rise or instant yeast–do not use active dry! I designed this recipe with instant yeast, so if you use regular yeast, your rise time will be much longer and you won’t be able to follow the recipe as instructed.
- Baking soda. Similar to how you make my homemade bagels, we’ll boil our uncooked pretzel bites before baking them. While bagels are boiled in water with honey or barley malt syrup, pretzels need to be boiled in baking soda water for a characteristically chewy interior, golden brown exterior, and distinct pretzel flavor.
- Pretzel salt. If you have a hard time finding pretzel salt, you could always use coarse sea salt instead.
- Unsalted butter. Just a little bit of melted butter enriches the dough. Like most of my recipes, I recommend you use unsalted butter!
- Egg. We’ll combine the egg with water to make a quick egg wash before baking.
SWEET OR SALTY: I typically just sprinkle these with pretzel salt because that’s how Zach likes them. For a sweet version, you can skip the salt, brush them with melted butter after baking, and toss in cinnamon/sugar. Make a batch of my chocolate cream cheese icing or regular cream cheese icing for dipping, too!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites
- Combine some of your flour and the remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add your melted butter and warm water and stir until smooth and combined.
- Gradually add the remaining flour until the dough starts to cling together and pull away from the bowl. The dough should feel tacky, but not overly sticky, add more flour if you need it!
- Knead the dough briefly on a lightly floured surface, stopping when you have a mostly smooth ball; (this should only take 1-2 minutes) then cover the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise until doubled.
- Preheat your oven, line a baking sheet with parchment, prepare the egg wash, and begin warming your baking soda/water mixture (lots to do, not a bad idea to do these things while the dough is rising!). Deflate the risen dough and divide it into five pieces before rolling each piece into a 12″ rope. Cut each rope into bite-sized pieces and place on your baking sheet.
SAM’S TIP: If the dough gets too sticky while you’re trying to roll it into ropes, you can add a sprinkle of flour to your surface or dust your hands with flour. Use sparingly, though, as too much flour can actually make the dough even harder to work with.
- Carefully lower a few pretzel bites into your boiling water. Let them boil for about 30 seconds, then remove them with a strainer and place on baking sheet, spacing about 2″ apart.
- Brush the surface of the bites with egg wash.
- Sprinkle with salt (coarse salt is best!) and bake until deep golden brown.
- Cool slightly before enjoying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Boiling in baking soda water ensures our bites will come out with the proper pretzel texture, color, and flavor. If you were to skip this step, you’d end up with bland, pale bites that more closely resemble breadsticks than pretzels.
Yes! I would recommend you freeze them after the baking soda step and just bake from frozen. They will most likely take a bit longer in the oven this way (but keep an eye on them and look for them to be turning golden brown!).
Sure! For instructions on how to prepare and twist them, visit my homemade soft pretzels post.
When I developed this recipe I had high hopes of sharing a beer cheese dip to go along with it (the dip shown in the photos is one of my entirely edible but also not nearly good enough for the blog attempts). Unfortunately, I couldn’t get that recipe quite nailed down but let me know if it’s something you’d like to see here on the blog and I’ll get back to it!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Soft Pretzel Bites
For Pretzel Bites
- 3 cups bread flour divided (plus additional as needed) (375g + additional as needed)
- 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar firmly packed (38g)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons rapid rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted (28g)
- 1 cup warm water heated to 115F (46C)
For Boiling and Baking
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- 8 cups water
- ¼ cup baking soda (58g)
- Pretzel salt for sprinkling (see note)
- In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) combine approximately 2 cups (250g) of flour, brown sugar, yeast, and table salt and stir to combine.
- Add melted butter and warm water and stir until mixture is completely combined and smooth.
- Gradually add remaining flour as needed (plus additional as needed) until the dough begins to cling together and pulls away from the side of the bowl (if using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment for this). Dough should be slightly tacky to the touch, but not unmanageably sticky.
- Transfer to a clean, lightly floured surface and briefly knead for 1-2 minutes until dough clings together and you have a mostly smooth ball (or you may use the dough hook attachment and mixer on low-speed for 1-2 minutes).
- Transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
Boiling & Baking
- Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 450F (230C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Prepare an egg wash by beating together 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water and set this aside for now, too.
- Measure 8 cups of water into a large pot, stir in baking soda, and bring to a boil. While water is coming to a boil, return to your dough.
- Gently deflate risen dough and transfer to a clean surface. Divide into 5 pieces and roll each into a rope approximately 12” (30cm) long. If the dough is sticking to your hands, lightly flour it but too much flour can make the dough even more difficult to work with, so use sparingly.
- Cut each rope into 1-1 ½” (2-3.5cm) bite-sized pieces and transfer to prepared baking sheet.
- Once water is boiling, carefully lower a handful of pretzel bites into the water at a time. Boil for approximately 30 seconds (if pretzels are floating I’ll flip them and continue to boil another 15-30 seconds) then remove with a strainer or spider or pair of tongs and return to baking sheet, spacing pretzels at least 1-2” (2cm) apart. Repeat with remaining pretzel bites until all have been boiled.
- Lightly brush pretzels with egg wash (I just do the surface that is exposed, I don’t flip them and brush the underside with egg wash, though you could) and sprinkle with pretzel salt or sea salt.
- Transfer to 450F (230C) oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. Allow to cool before enjoying. Pretzels are best enjoyed warm the same day they are made.
FlourBread flour is best for this recipe as it yields the more characteristically chewy pretzels you’re used to. However, all-purpose flour can be used in a pinch as a straight 1:1 substitution, just note that your pretzels will be less chewy and more fluffy.
Pretzel SaltI can’t always find pretzel salt in stores. I’ve linked to where you can buy it on Amazon in the “Recommended Equipment” section above, but if you can’t find it you can use coarse sea salt instead.
Cinnamon Sugar VersionFor a cinnamon/sugar version of this recipe, skip sprinkling with coarse salt, brush the bites with melted butter after baking, and then immediately toss in a blend of cinnamon/sugar.
StoringThese are best enjoyed warm the same day they are made, but they may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.